Gum recession can occur gradually and asymptomatically over long periods of time, such that the patient doesn’t realize it is occurring for years without the diagnosis of a trained professional. Once diagnosed, regular dental checkups will help to assess the associated risk factors, mitigate risks to lessen the worsening of the recession, and ultimately prevent periodontal disease from setting in. After the gingival tissue has been lost, it will never “grow back.” The only way to restore it is through tissue implantation.
Many people have heard that overaggressive brushing causes gum recession. True, overbrushing (or brushing with a hard-bristled tooth brush) can be nearly as dangerous to the gums as not brushing. This can erode the tooth enamel at the gum line, irritating the gum tissue. However, there are many other causes of recession, including use of tobacco products that will aggravate the gingival lining of the mouth, as well as poor oral hygiene. When brushing and flossing are performed improperly, the buildup or plaque will begin to deteriorate tooth and gum alike. The bacterial toxins contained in plaque promote infection and can actually erode the underlying jawbone, requiring surgical attention.
How do you know if you have gum recession? The following symptoms can be indicative of the disease:
Sensitive teeth. When the gums recede significantly enough to expose the cementum that protects the tooth root, the underlying dentin tubules will become more susceptible to external stimulation. Many such patients experience significant sensitivities to the temperature of food and drink.
Longer-looking teeth. Individuals with gum recession often have a “toothy” smile. Such individuals may have perfectly normal teeth – but the loss of gum tissue makes the teeth appear longer.
Visible roots. This is one of the main indicators of severe gum recession.
Other symptoms of gingival recession include halitosis, gum inflammation and bleeding of the gums. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms and the potential correlation it may have to gum recession, please consult with us at Sweet Tooth Dentistry.